Thursday, March 19, 2009

When The Going Gets Tough...

...the tough start brewing. Story in yesterday's WSJ details that despite the economy, people are still opening new mircobrewries:

Surprisingly large numbers of entrepreneurs -- some let go from corporate jobs in recent years -- have been starting microbreweries or brewpubs. Schools that teach brewing are being showered with applications from people interested in getting into the business. At the same time, enthusiasm for interesting new beers remains strong;, a Web site for beer enthusiasts, says its traffic has reached one million unique visitors a month, and is rising as much as 12% each month.

Last year, even as a recession gripped the country, 114 microbreweries and brewpubs -- restaurants that make their own beer -- opened in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo., trade group. That marked the highest number since 1999. Openings are expected to decline this year, but start-up activity remains robust, says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. The group estimates 200 microbreweries and brewpubs already are on the drawing board for the next few years.

Building a successful microbrewery or brewpub business has never been easy and I imagine the current economic conditions will pose a severe challenge for those just entering the game. However, the fact that so many are still willing to make a go at it is a good sign about the future of the American craft beer industry.

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